Nuclear Japan South Korea

Patrick Buchanan asks: Should Japan and South Korea go nuclear?

In Foreign Relations by StaffLeave a Comment

During the campaign season last year, candidate Donald Trump floated the idea of Japan and South Korea acquiring their own nuclear weapons as a deterrent to North Korea and China as well as to relieve the burden the U.S. has to protect them. Now that he’s President, the question is being asked again.

This time, conservative firebrand Patrick Buchanan is asking.

The basic question that needs addressing:

Why do we still keep 28,000 troops in South Korea as a trip wire to bring us into a second Korean war from its first hours, a war that could bring nuclear strikes on our troops, bases, and, soon, our nation?

We cannot walk away from our Korean allies in this crisis. But we should look upon the North’s drive to marry nuclear warheads to ICBMs as a wake-up call to review a policy rooted in Cold War realities that ceased to exist when Ronald Reagan went home.

Consider: North Korea devotes 25 percent of GDP to defense. South Korea spends 2.6 percent, Japan one percent. Yet these mighty Asian allies, who run annual trade surpluses at our expense, require us to defend them from a maniacal little country right next door.

After this crisis, South Korea and Japan should begin to make the kind of defense effort the U.S. does, and create their own nuclear deterrents. This might get Beijing’s attention, as our pleas for its assistance with North Korea apparently have not.

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